Unaffordable rents and a lack of legal protections for tenants are creating a national "eviction epidemic," according to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. The NLCHP is a legal organization that advocates for legislation and programs to support people experiencing homelessness. The group recently released a report reviewing research on evictions. They link evictions to growing numbers of people sleeping in shelters and outside and call for more legal protections for renters.
When Sarah Johnson decided last year to leave behind a career at San Francisco State University that spanned three decades, she did not think that her retirement would come at the cost of her home.
Four years ago, Johnson moved into a one-bedroom apartment in University Park South, which contains 145 SF State-owned apartments located across the street from the main campus at 1900 Holloway Ave. Of those units, 51 that are set aside specifically for faculty and staff. Johnson hoped this would be the last move that she would have to make.
The steps up to Sarah Johnson’s apartment are decorated with sand dollars that she collects, often on walks with her grandson. Inside, light streams into her living room, which she likes, because it makes her feel almost like she’s outside.
Clipboards in hand, signature-gatherers are fanning out across four Southern California cities this month, turning up at supermarkets and metro stops and apartment complexes to pitch a measure for the November ballot that they say will be salvation for renters.
But for landlords, their pitch is blasphemy.
At issue is whether the cities of Long Beach, Inglewood, Glendale and Pasadena should join a tiny band of California cities that already have rent control and “just cause” eviction laws that prevent landlords from ousting tenants in good standing.
When did the endless debate over the unfairness of California’s housing market become such an exercise in missing the point?
Developers huff and puff about rent control and how, if it’s enacted, the construction of apartment buildings will grind to a screeching halt, exacerbating the housing crisis. Renters rant about how they don’t care because they need help – now. And political candidates, well, they try to have it both ways.
In 2017, with virtually no fanfare, the appellate division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court wiped out a critical piece of West Hollywood’s rent stabilization ordinance. The provision allowed tenants to get reimbursed for attorney fees when victorious in standing up for their rights during eviction proceedings. Because of this provision, tenants in West Hollywood were more likely to have a lawyer with them and, consequently, were some of the least likely tenants in California to be evicted and become homeless.
Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said Tuesday that she and Centro Legal de la Raza have filed suit against a landlord who they allege attempted to illegally increase his tenant's rent by pretending he had moved into the downstairs unit of a duplex.
Parker said such schemes have become common as Oakland's housing crisis persists, with some landlords using sham "owner move-ins" as a tactic to evade Oakland's just cause for eviction and rent control laws.
The battle over rent control in the state and in Sacramento is heating up.
A local housing coalition is pushing for rent control and just cause in the city, while five industry groups have announced opposition to the measure. There's also a campaign across the state to repeal a decades-old law that limits where local governments can enact rent control.
Volunteers are already collecting signatures to get a rent control related initiative on the California ballot in November.
The home at the center of a controversial eviction battle has been denied condo conversion plans by the San Francisco Planning Commission. The eviction and subsequent death of 100-year-old Iris Canada last year became the poster for displacement in San Francisco at the hand of real estate whims. Though the building owners of Canada’s decades-long home at 670 Page St. pressed on with condo conversion plans, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously voted Thursday to deny the application after public testimony.
Every year in Milwaukee, thousands of eviction notices are filed. The state Senate is expected to take up legislation later this month that critics say unfairly favors landlords -- and would increase the number of evictions. Republican proponents maintain it’s about ensuring quality housing for tenants in the most affordable way to landlords.